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Boys and Books

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  1. Boys and Books Is There Really a Difference?

  2. The Eye Roll • Up until past few years, boys have been “ignored” in Book World. Why? • Perceptions and Stereotypes: …Boys aren’t (often) “ideal” reader • Recent years, Renewed interest

  3. Boys’ Thoughts • A 2001 YALSA Teen Read Week Survey asked boys, “If you don’t read much or don’t like reading, why?” • Boring /not fun (39.3%) • No time/too busy (29.8%) • Like other activities better (11.1%) • Can’t get into the stories (7.7%) • I’m not good at it (4.3%) • Makes me tired/causes headaches (2.5%) • Too much school work (1.4%) • Books are too long (.09%)

  4. Librarian/Teacher/Parent Hang-ups • What are some hesitancies that you’ve had or heard from these areas on focusing “tailored” attention on boys? • Generalizations about boys vs. girls, but there are developmental differences

  5. Waffles and Spaghetti • Boy Brain vs. Girl Brain • Can be “generalized”/stereotypical, but helpful to understand • Over 100 biological differences between male and female brain • Corpus Callosum (bridge between hemispheres) less developed at 5 years old • 15-20% more neural activity in girls brain at any given time • Girls have greater number of nerve fibers (feel more pain)

  6. Waffles and Spaghetti, cont. • Boy Brain vs. Girl Brain • Over 100 biological differences between male and female brain • Girls have more white matter, which is what constantly networks brain activity to different parts of brain; boys have more gray matter, which keeps brain activity in a single place. • Boys’ brains “shut off” (enter “rest state”) more times per day than girls’

  7. Waffles and Spaghetti, cont. • Boy Brain vs. Girl Brain • Over 100 biological differences between male and female brain • Boys have more neural centers that focus on how objects move around physical space • Boys process more through amygdala (the aggression/emotion center)

  8. Waffles and Spaghetti, cont. • Boy Brain vs. Girl Brain • Over 100 biological differences between male and female brain • Boys’ hippocampus (major memory center) is generally less active than a girl’s, especially during emotional/relational experiences • Chemical differences: 10-20% more testosterone (risk-taking/aggression), less oxytocin (bonding chemical), less serotonin (calms us down)… especially in frontal lobe (decision making center) • What does it all mean?

  9. Practical Implications • Boys need to be led to emotional/motivational/purposeful experiences by mentors to learn how to function purposefully • Boys do before talk, so boyhood experiences often based on trial and error • Many parts of brain are set after first few years, but hippocampus (memory center) is constantly creating new neurons • How does it affect us as librarians? We need to engage boys in reading, which requires AND encourages “fuller usage of brain”

  10. Boys and Books • Reader’s Advisory • Preferences in formats and genres • Programming • Gaining Allies • WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT

  11. Boy-friendly Formats • Pictures: picture books, graphic novels, comics, manga, hybrids • Audio: books on tape/cd, podcasts • Online content • Newspapers and magazines

  12. Boy-friendly Genres • Adventure • Fantasy • Humor • Non-fiction • Science fiction • Sports

  13. Adventure • 39 Clues series • EoinColfer • Charles Higson (Young Bond series) • Will Hobbs • Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider) • Gary Paulsen • Rick Riordan

  14. Fantasy • Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson • EoinColfer • Chris D’Lacey • Cornelia Funke • Derek Landy • Brandon Mull • Philip Reeve • J.K. Rowling

  15. Humor • Mac Barnett • Andrew Clements • Dan Gutman • Gordon Korman • Josh Lieb • DavPilkey • Louis Sacher • Jordan Sonnenblick • Pseudonymous Bosch • Jack Gantos • Jeff Kinney • Jarrett Krosoczka • David Lubar • Daniel Pinkwater • Jon Scieszka • Eric Wight

  16. Non-fiction • Learning how to do anything they’re interested in • Learning history/facts behind something • Autobiographies/biographies • How to make things • Gross-out

  17. Science Fiction • Orson Scott Card • James Patterson (Maximum Ride series) • Star Trek • Star Wars

  18. Sports • Tiki and Ronde Barber • Matt Christopher • John Coy • Tim Green • Dan Gutman • Mike Lupica • James Preller • John Ritter

  19. Programming • What can you do in a school? • Boy friendly topics, instruction styles • Guys Read/Boys Only, • Male teachers/staff

  20. Gaining Allies • Parents • Teachers • Administration • PUBLIC LIBRARY

  21. Welcoming Environment • Easier said than done… take a look at your space, your response… roll eyes? • Boys AND fathers

  22. Boy-friendly Programming at LML • Daddy and Me storytimes quarterly • Daddy Catcher Days • Incorporate active/boy friendly topics into programming schedule • Use non-fiction in storytimes • Be welcoming of boys and dads • Information source/anxiety ease-r for parents

  23. Boy-friendly Activities • Chess • Scavenger hunts • Make a desktop catapult • Gross out special effects • Create-a-sport • Magic tricks • Joke-telling/creating

  24. Guys Read Groups • Guys Read website: www.guysread.com

  25. Guys Read Groups • Contacted schools in East Penn for initial interest of male teachers • Display, collected interest from patrons • Started in spring and ran for four months • We saw a HUGE difference in attitudes toward reading and the library right away • Moms emails

  26. Emails from Parents • Emails began to pour in from parents before 9am the next morning • Responses to reminders were “wouldn’t miss it!!”, “my son’s been asking me non-stop when the next club meeting was”, and if they couldn’t make it because of something coming up, parents were saying their sons were “mad” at them!

  27. “You’re Not Alone” • Resource for parents • Offer reading lists in library • Also talk to teachers

  28. Resources • Bronzo, William: To Be a Boy, To Be a Reader: Engaging Teen and Preteens in Active Literacy • Eliot, Lise: Pink Brain, Blue Brain: How Small Differences Grow into Troublesome Gaps– and What We Can Do About It • Gurian, Michael: • Boys and Girls Learn Differently: A Guide for Teachers and Parents; • The Purpose of Boys: Helping our Sons Find Meaning, Significance and Direction in Their Lives; • The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do to Shape Boys into Exceptional Men; • What Stories Does My Son Need? A Guide to Books and Movies that Build Character in Boys • Knowles, Elizabeth: Boys and Literacy: Practical Strategies for Libraries, Teachers and Parents • Smith, Michael: Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys: Literacy in the Lives of Young Men • Sullivan, Michael: • Connecting Boys with Books: What Libraries Can Do; • Connecting Boys with Books 2: Closing the Reading Gap; • Serving Boys Through Readers Advisory • http://www.literacycouncilofalaska.org/guysread.html - Has a link to Fairbanks North Star Borough Public Libraries GR Manual (with info for school)